Top diplomats meet in France to mobilise aid for war-ravaged Sudan

Top diplomats meet in France to mobilise aid for war-ravaged Sudan
Sudan descended into conflict last year when simmering tensions between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces exploded into open fighting.
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Sudan has been devastated by a yearlong war between its army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces [AFP/Getty-archive]

A yearlong war in Sudan has devastated the country and pushed its people to the brink of famine.

Top diplomats and aid groups are meeting on Monday in Paris to drum up humanitarian support for the northeastern African nation to prevent further collapse and misery.

Sudan descended into conflict in April last year when simmering tensions between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) exploded into open fighting in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere across the country.

The UN humanitarian campaign needs some $2.7 billion this year to get food, health care and other supplies to 24 million people in Sudan – nearly half its population of 51 million.

So far, funders have given only $145 million, about five percent, according to the UN's humanitarian office, known as OCHA.

The United States and Saudi Arabia initially led efforts to find a negotiated way out of the conflict.

But the efforts didn’t succeed, and since October the fighting has been overshadowed by Israel's war on Gaza, which is threatening to expand to a broader regional conflict.

Relief workers, meanwhile, warn that Sudan is hurtling towards an even larger-scale calamity of starvation, with potential mass death in the coming months.

Food production and distribution networks have broken down and aid agencies are unable to reach the worst-stricken regions.

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The conflict has also been marked by widespread reports of atrocities including killings, displacement and rape, particularly in the area of the capital and the western region of Darfur.

At least 37 percent of the population at crisis level or above suffer from hunger, according to OCHA.

Save the Children warned that about 230,000 children, pregnant women, and newborn mothers could die of malnutrition in the coming months.

Nearly nine million people have been forced to flee their homes either to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.

The military, headed by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the RSF, commanded by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, have carved up Khartoum and trade indiscriminate fire at each other.

In 2021, Burhan and Dagalo were uneasy allies who led a military coup.

They toppled an internationally recognised civilian government that was supposed to steer Sudan's democratic transition.